Judith cutting off the head of holofernes
- Judith Beheading Holofernes, 1599 by Caravaggio
- Artemisia Gentileschi
- Paintings of Judith in the Bible
Judith Beheading Holofernes, 1599 by Caravaggio
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Cranach was a close friend of Martin Luther the famous portrait of Luther is by Cranach , and helped promote his ideas — he was a staunch supporter of the Protestant Reformation. The story of Judith struck a chord with the Protestant reformers, since it described the courage of a small nation resisting a tyrant from outside who sought to impose his own beliefs about God on them. There was also an attempt at this time to balance the preponderance of male heroes in Christian tradition with biblical heroines who could be role models of particular virtues. See the Bible text for this story. Judith is dressed in the rich clothing and lavish jewellery she wore when she went to meet Holofernes. She is a woman of gold.
Judith Beheading Holofernes is a painting of the biblical episode by Caravaggio , painted in c. The painting was rediscovered in and is part of the collection of the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in Rome. The deuterocanonical Book of Judith tells how Judith served her people by seducing and pleasuring Holofernes , the Syrian General. Judith gets Holofernes drunk, then seizes her sword and slays him: "Approaching to his bed, she took hold of the hair of his head" Judith —8. Caravaggio's approach was, typically, to choose the moment of greatest dramatic impact: the moment of decapitation itself. The figures are set out in a shallow stage, theatrically lit from the side, isolated against the inky black background. Judith's maid Abra stands beside her mistress to the right as Judith extends her arm to hold a blade against Holofernes's neck; lying on his stomach, neck contorted as he turns his head towards his assassin, he is vulnerable.
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The subject takes an episode from the apocryphal Book of Judith in the Old Testament , which recounts the assassination of the Assyrian general Holofernes by the Israelite heroine Judith. The painting shows the moment when Judith, helped by her maidservant, beheads the general after he has fallen asleep drunk. She also painted a later version of the work in the early s, now in the Uffizi in Florence. Gentileschi made a second version of this painting after moving to Florence. There is no information as of yet on the patron of this artwork. The location of Gentileschi's Capodimonte copy is not known until it was documented in the Signora Saveria de Simone collection in Naples in
Judith Beheading Holofernes tells the story Biblical story of Judith, who saved her people by seducing and beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes, which was a common theme in the 16th century. Caravaggio was certainly aware of Judith's traditional identity as a symbol of triumph over tyranny; but he presented the subject primarily as a melodrama, choosing the relatively rarely represented climactic moment of the actual beheading of Holofernes. Judith, young, beautiful, and physically weak, draws back distastefully as she seizes Holofernes's hair and cleaves through his neck with his own sword. Holofernes, on his bed, powerful but drunk, nude, and bellowing helplessly, has frozen in the futile struggle of his last instant of consciousness. The bloodthirsty old servant, popeyed as she strains forward, clutches the bag in readiness for the disembodied head. It is a ghastly image, with primary interest in the protagonists' states of mind: the old woman's grim satisfaction, Holofernes's shock, and Judith's sense of determination. Caravaggio intensifies the body language not only in the poses, gestures, and facial expressions but also in the clenched hands.
The account of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith is given in the deuterocanonical Book of Judith , and is the subject of many paintings and sculptures from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. - In an era when female painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and had international clientele. She specialized in painting pictures of strong and suffering women from myths, allegories, and the Bible—victims, suicides, warriors.
Paintings of Judith in the Bible